ABD Gives Guarded Welcome to Tory Plans to End War on the Motorist
The Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Tim Collins, made some valid points in his address to the Conservative Party conference yesterday. It appears that the Conservatives may have started to wake up to the fact that there are still tens of millions of disenfranchised motorists looking for a party that will not treat them as the scourge of society but recognise that life for most people in Great Britain revolves around being able to use their car.
The Association of British Drivers welcomes Mr Collins' plans to end the war on Britain's drivers, waged not only by the current Labour government but also by the previous Tory administration which introduced the fuel duty escalator and speed cameras.
The ABD also welcomes plans to ensure speed cameras are used purely for road safety purposes not revenue raising. He should start by reminding some of the Tory controlled local authorities that misuse of speed cameras is unacceptable.
More concerning are the plans to enable local authorities to lower speed limits more easily. The ABD firmly believes that the power for setting speed limits should be held not by uninformed local councillors (who do not even need to hold a driving licence) but by a body of experts. In this way, speed limits will be related to safety not political correctness, while gaining the rationality and consistency that is sadly lacking at the moment.
Mr Collins is right to point out the total failure of Labour's 'road safety policies' but he makes no mention of alternative, better, ways to improve safety on our roads. There is no mention of road user education, nor increasing the number of traffic officers to carry out proper enforcement procedures against genuine cases of road users behaving dangerously.
Mr Collins promises a welcome opposition to congestion charging, however, if the Conservatives are to be taken seriously they must go further and promise to scrap not only all congestion charging schemes but also any road tolling schemes.
ABD chairman Brian Gregory said:
"It's all very well criticising the current government policies on transport, frankly that's not difficult. However, if the Conservatives want to be taken seriously we need promises not hints."
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries commented:
"The Conservatives could start immediately to show us they are serious by pulling their local authorities into line, ensuring that no Tory authorities are introducing Labour-like anti-car schemes or improperly punishing drivers. Only when the public sees this occur, will they take the Conservatives seriously. They must be seen to call off the dogs - now."